State House and Senate Differ Markedly on Budget for Schools

The Texas Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday approved a draft 2018-19 budget (SB 1) that would let per-pupil funding for public schools stagnate, keeping the basic allotment for all districts at the same level as in 2016. Under the Senate plan, the state would actually reduce the amount of state general revenue for schools substantially, […]

Legislative Wrap-Up for March 17

Controversial Pick for Pension Board Faces Texas Senate Opposition: Serious opposition has developed in the Texas Senate to the appointment of Josh McGee to serve as chair of the State Pension Review Board. McGee is a prominent critic of state-guaranteed pension benefits and is employed by a foundation in Houston that has led attacks on […]

State Budget Hearings Begin with House Pushing for Higher Funding than Senate

The Senate Finance Committee, which will write the Senate version of the state budget for fiscal years 2018-19, began formal hearings Monday with an overview of a first draft of Senate Bill 1 that would provide $8 billion less for public services than the House proposes. The Senate budget draft would provide $2.2 billion less […]

State Commitment to Health-Care Funding Debated

A state Joint Committee on TRS Health Benefit Plans has issued a report suggesting no new state funding to cover the rising costs of health care for active and retired school employees. The effect would be to accelerate the erosion of the state’s commitment to health-care affordability for both active employees and retirees. This report […]

TRS-Care Update

Retirees, take heed. As we reported previously in the Hotline, the Teacher Retirement System of Texas trustees adopted changes to the TRS-Care health program at their June 2016 meeting. While premiums for retiree care have been left unchanged at the Legislature’s urging, there are other changes you need to bear in mind, and not all […]

Texas AFT Presses for Increased State Health-Care Aid for School Employees

Texas AFT legislative spokesman Ted Melina Raab pressed the case for higher state contributions for health insurance for active and retired school employees in testimony Tuesday before the Legislative Budget Board staff and representatives of the Governor’s Budget Office. You can add your voice to this campaign by sending a letter to legislators. Melina Raab […]

You Can Do Something About EpiPen Price-Gouging

You probably have seen the news reports about outrageous price increases for lifesaving EpiPens. What can you do about it? Read the message below from Patricia Forrai-Gunter, a school nurse from Cleveland, Ohio, who serves on the AFT Nurses and Health Professionals Policy and Planning Council—and then heed her call to take action: As a […]

As School Resumes, Health-Care Costs Rise–Let Lawmakers Know You Need Affordable Care!

Take Action Here! (and share your experiences with health-care costs here) As students head back to school across Texas, many teachers and support personnel are shouldering new increases in the cost of their health coverage. While some school districts have helped absorb some of the increased costs, the state has kept its contribution toward school […]

Let Lawmakers Know You Need Affordable Health Care!

At the meeting today of the Texas Teacher Retirement System board, Texas AFT legislative spokesman Ted Melina Raab urged TRS trustees to include a bid for increased funding for health care for active school employees in their funding request due for submission to the Legislature next month. The current draft of the request already includes […]

Report Ranks Texas Near Bottom in Child Well-Being

There is little for Texans to cheer about in the latest KIDS COUNT Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. In this year’s report on various dimensions of child well-being, Texas continues to rank among the bottom 10 states—number 43, to be exact, two notches down from where the state ranked last year.  Improvements […]